The Basilica of St. Mary Formosa dates back to the 6th century. It is an exceptionally important Early Christian monument. Unfortunately, only the south chapel, shaped as a Greek cross, has been preserved.
Located in the south of the old town core, St. Mary Formosa is one of the most significant Early Christian monuments of the Byzantine art and architecture in Istria and Croatia. It was commissioned by Archbishop Maximianus of Ravenna from the vicinity of Rovinj, who also had San Vitale and San Appolinare in Classe erected, both in Ravenna.
The magnificent three-nave basilica was divided into three naves by columns, which interior rhythm was repeated on its exterior perimetral walls, the window division and blind arch lesenes. The sanctuary was completed by three polygonal arches and two side chapels next to it. Only the south chapel has been fully preserved until today, while the major part of the northern one was built into the neighbouring residential buildings.
The basilica's northern wall is today visible only as a fence surrounding the neighbouring garden. The chapel is designed as a Greek cross, one of which arms ends in a semi-circular axis, while its central part, the point where the two arms cross, is higher than the others. The sanctuary is covered by the quadro-pitched roof, while the remaining part of the structure has dual-pitched roofs. The exterior is simple, decorated by shallow lesenes, blind arches and semi-circular windows. It got ruined, especially during the 1242 fire at the time of the Venetian conquest of Pula. A large portion of its inventory was shipped to Venice, where it was used in building the St. Mark's Library or Sale delle quattro porte of the Doge's Palace.
In the late 16th century, the basilica was already in ruins.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.